By Patricia Balana, Director, The GRAD Partnership
January 23, 2024
In great news for students and schools, the Biden-Harris Administration recently announced its Improving Student Achievement Agenda for 2024. This initiative is focused on the adoption of evidence-based approaches that improve student learning, including (1) increasing student attendance; (2) providing “high-dosage” tutoring; and (3) increasing summer learning or extended and after school learning time.
Implementation of high-quality student success systems will be integral to realizing the goals of the student achievement agenda. Student success systems are a post-pandemic way of organizing a school community to better support the well-being, academic progress, and career and college readiness of all students. Student success systems provide schools with a unified system that integrates, extends, and increases the capacity of existing student support efforts, including early warning, on-track, and multi-tiered support systems. For example, student success systems situate evidence-based strategies like high dosage tutoring in larger systems and school-wide practices.
The Administration’s initiative is being launched in direct response to challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the White House, the “rate of chronic absenteeism reached about 31% in 2021-2022,” and students who “are chronically absent are much less likely to read at grade level and to graduate high school.” A 2023 report from Civic and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University also noted that, in 2021, America’s high school graduation rate dropped for the first time in nearly two decades.
The four core components of student success systems offer a robust roadmap for the initiative’s goal of increasing attendance through adopting early warning systems and effectively using “data and family engagement to identify why a student is absent and what tailored strategy will address the cause.” By focusing on supportive relationships, actionable data, student-centered mindsets, and evidence-based strategic actions, high-quality, student success systems empower secondary schools to both address schoolwide achievement patterns and meet individual student needs.
The GRAD Partnership partners with schools, districts, universities, and local community organizations to create the conditions needed to scale student success systems. As a coalition of nine national organizations, we are uniquely positioned to facilitate work at the state and local levels in support of the Administration’s important new initiative. We look forward to continuing our work to ensure all schools are empowered to graduate all students on a pathway to adult success through higher education and job training.
Key GRAD Partnership resources: